Time to renovate.
Spring has finally hit the city and with nice sunny weather a lot of Torontonians are starting to think about the things that need to be fixed this season to improve their homes.
We all know the stories about some bad experiences people have had with renovation / remodelling projects i.e. when costs from the original quote went up 2-3 times or timing originally agreed upon expanded from one week to 2-3 months.
What are the things to consider most, when people are thinking of their renovation / remodelling project?
What will be the right budget?
The first thing we all should do is determine what our plan is and then figure out if this will be a one stage project or something that we can consider to be a long term project.
Having been in the home renovation business for over 10 years, I can say that my most successful projects have been the projects where my clients have had a good and clear understanding of what they want and they treat any improvement to their homes as an investment in their properties. And guess what? They are absolutely right because every dollar they invest in their homes improvement (if the project is well coordinated and well priced) will bring them another dollar on the value of their homes.
So, the most important thing to do is to determine what will be the goal of the renovation.
Will this project just be cosmetic improvements such as changing the wall colors? Or will there be major structural changes such as removing the walls or relocating the plumbing? And how will all these changes increase the value of our homes?
A few years ago I had to manage a job where an addition was being added to the existing house. The owners of the property had just finished the main floor area a few years before, with the installation of new hardwood floors, a new kitchen and construction of a new bathroom. A few years later they finally decided to do the addition. Do you think this was the most cost efficient thing to do?
We should treat any changes done to our homes as a long term investment and a good investment will add the maximum value with the minimum of expenses.
A good project happens when our investment meets our expectations. i.e. The cost of the renovation did not change dramatically and by the finishing stages the time frame did not expand from the agreed 3 weeks into 3 months. On the other hand a very important thing to know is that not every dollar invested in the home improvement project will bring profit but will be considered as an investment only if the project is done on the right budget and by professionals who know what they doing.
Another thing to know – How will the renovation affect our life style if we are considering having things done while we live in the house.
Some things we have to know about home renovation:
- Any works at our homes, no matter what the works are, will create some noise.
- Any works at our homes can create some dust.
- Any works at our homes might create some discomfort because our daily routine might need to be adjusted to suit the schedule of the project.
- Some loss of electrical power may happen and this can lead to the loss of data on computers or resetting of electrical clocks or appliances.
- The water may need to be shut off if work is being carried out on the plumbing and faucet filters may need cleaning because of some soldering debris in the water system.
- Shortage of heating or cooling air.
- Some new people around the house that are carrying out the work.
- Some damage to property if work is not done accordingly with the renovation – construction standards, safety or conduct of ethics.
If we are considering hiring the contractor for the project, some good things to know:
- Is this a really professional company or a person with good knowledge of all the stages of the project?
- Is this a reliable company or a person who will do the best to accommodate all your needs and show a good respect for your property?
- What is the liability this person or company has in the case of any legal dispute? Any city licences, how long have they been in business?
- Always try to get as much information about this contractor as you can. Any previous projects, references, pictures, web sites etc.
- Try to determine the cost of the project with full understanding of the materials cost and labour cost.
- Written quotes are a good thing to have. Quotes should include a full break down for each stage of the project as well as material costs.
- Determine who supplies what. Is the contractor agreeing to supply all the materials or just part of them? A good thing to have is a personal choice of some things. People usually like to choose tiles and bathroom fixtures themselves.
- Deliveries and garbage removal costs.
- Cheap is not always good.
- We save by doing things right, once.
Hope these tips from the Home renovation professionals can help you.
By Oleg Rusakov,
Project management and general contracting